book discussion

How to Remember the Previous Book in a Series (Without Rereading)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

It seems that most of the books I read nowadays are part of a series. Where are all of my standalones? Series are fantastic but there is one problem that comes along with reading a series. How do you remember everything that happened to everyone in the last book to move on to the next? A good example is Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare just released yesterday (yah!) but I've only read Lady Midnight when it released a year ago now. I don't remember every little thing that happened to Emma and all my favorite characters. And I don't have time to reread the whole thing. Here's 4 ways I remember the previous book in a series (without rereading the entire thing):

Read the last chapter of the previous book.

Usually when I expose myself to the previous book by reading the last chapter, I can pick up on many things including what is currently happening and where the next book will probably start off. This is not an entire reread. Ain't nobody got time to reread huge books when the sequel is sitting on your shelf waiting for you. Also, I will not only know where the sequel will be starting at but after reading the last chapter, I slowly start to remember a lot of the significant scenes that I may have forgotten about. 

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Read a review of the previous book.

When I'm starting a new book in the series and I can't remember anything from the last book, I always look to see if I wrote a review or some notes about it. Usually my book reviews, which are all spoiler free, will give me some insight in to what characters I liked or scenes I may have disliked. If I didn't write a book review or any notes on the book-- or the review didn't tell me anything at all-- I turn to some other book reviews around the blogosphere and on Goodreads to try to jog my memory. And you don't have to be afraid of spoilers because you've already read the book so these are the best book reviews to help you remember.

There may be a recap in the sequel.

This is more of a hope than a guarantee that you will remember the previous book. Some sequels recap the previous book in a sly or rather subtle way in the first few chapters (which I've talked about before). This requires just starting the next book in the series and hoping everything will come back to you. 

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Look for recaps of the previous book online.

I love finding recaps of books online. When I am about to continue the series, I always start with finding recaps before I do anything else because it is the most easiest and thorough way to remember everything that happened already. I tend to read the first book when it first comes out because I am so excited for it and then when the second or final book comes out, I can't continue because sequels are difficult! I don't want series to end! So, when I finally continue the series again, I look for recaps of the previous books. Two fantastic recap sites I use are: Recaptains and Book Series Recaps!

How do you remember the previous book in the series without a full reread?

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Beach Reads You'll Fall in Love With This Summer

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It's getting closer and closer to summer. And I'm getting excited. When most people think of the summer, they think of the outdoor sports and fun in the sun and going to the pool. Well, I can think of one outdoor "sport" I'll be partaking this summer. Reading outside, of course! Preferably, I will be taking some awesome reads to the beach or the nearest body of water available and lounging the day away.


Top Ten Tuesday is created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is a Summer Reads Freebie: Top Ten Beach Reads You'll Fall in Love With This Summer. I'll start your summer reading list off right with these ten reads:

all books by Maureen Johnson: She is not only one of the queens of contemporary but also an absolute genius when it comes to writing fast books. You can read any of her books and be done with them within the next few hours. Be sure to start with her 13 Little Blue Envelopes that will definitely give you some summer love vibes.


Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins: We all need some short stories written by some of our favorite authors in our lives. And they are all set in the summer which is ever better. This book is already released but there is another gorgeous anthology book coming out in January (I know, so far away!) that reminds me a bit of this one titled Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling: This book is certainly a hidden gem and perfect for reading during the summer. It is a short memoir filled with fabulous quirks and hilarious antidotes that are relatable.

The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albight: Contemporary is not a required genre for the summer though most of the readers I come across, contemps are what they are most likely reading during the hot months. For me, it isn't so much contemporary as it is that the book must be set outside of the US. I love reading about characters going to Europe for the first time or the crazy happenings of Ketterdam. The Heir and the Spare is perfect reading for me in the summer, set in Europe with a fairytale-like plot.


all books by Alyson Noel: Alyson Noel writes gorgeous bite-sized contemporary books that you can gobble in one setting. Definitely start off with the thrilling drama in Unrivaled.

We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist: In this memoir of sorts, Sundquist tracks down every girl he has ever dated and asked her why they didn't hit it off. It's laugh-out-loud funny and incredibly down-to-earth.


Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch: In the mood for some cold gelato and an awesome adventure in Italy? This isn't your normal romance, rather it's about self-acceptance that is told in a gorgeous way.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han: This is only the cutest book you will ever read in your entire life. And to make life sweeter, there's two more books in this series to fulfill that cuteness void in your heart.

The Selection by Kiera Cass: The Selection is one of the quickest series I have ever read. I can usually finish these books in one sitting which is a miracle because I can't read anything else in one sitting. It may be because Cass is an incredible storyteller and before you know it, you are too invested into the story to stop now.


Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: I mentioned this book to someone the other day and they haven't heard of it. I was partially in shock because Libba Bray is an absolute genius and I can't believe not many people have heard of this book. Teen beauty pageant contestants are stranded on an island after their plane crashes. They must find a way to survive. And to sweeten the deal, there's pirates. What more can a reader want? If this one isn't for you, check out Going Bovine which has an unbelievable plot that I'm still scratching my head over years later.

What beach reads are you interested in this summer?

book review

All. The. Feels. | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: 9/10/13
Pages: 481
Source: BEA
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park. A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


Cath is a total fangirl of the Simon Snow series. She has all the books, all the posters, and even all the movies. She also writes a highly-popular fanfiction about the books. Wren, her twin, and Cath are attending the same college, and it is going to be a blast. Nothing has to change; does it? Except Wren doesn’t want to room with Cath. She wants to have the whole college experience. Cath is less than excited about this turn of events. Will she even like college? Fangirl is a coming of age story like you’ve never seen before.


The Fangirl

  • Cath is one of the most relatable characters I have read in a long time. Her narrative is definitely on point with what a freshman in college goes through. I, almost, wish I had read this book while still in college. Fangirl is easily a book that will help you forget about your own troubles. It may have put my mind at ease as many things I worried about in college were exactly the same as what Cath was worrying about.
  • Cath is such a kindred spirit. She gets so many things right but especially everything she said about writing. The book is heavily ingrained in Cath’s fanfiction and her work in her fiction writing class. A lot of the discussions about writing rang true and hauntingly gorgeous.
  • Every aspect of Cath’s life was touching and beautifully structured. It was more than a coming of age story. It was a story for you to find pieces of yourself within the writing.

The Friends

  • I could easily find characters who seemed to be just like my friends. It was as if Rainbow Rowell had taken a bit of every freshman’s life and structured it around the most relatable of characters.
  • Only, I wish we were given a bit more time with Levi. He still remains somewhat of a mystery and I would have loved to get to know him a bit more. He was so bubbly, outgoing, and an all-around nice guy.
  • The romance blossomed incredibly well. It was both gorgeous and realistic. 
  • And how cute is reading aloud to another? We don’t get scenes like this very often, where the protagonist will read aloud to another character. It is so intimate and undeniably adorable. It shows how reading aloud brings people together.

The Fanfiction

  • At the beginning of every chapter, there would always be a small excerpt of something related to what is happening in the plot. It is a fantastic idea; it had me making predictions about what may come next based on the excerpt.
  • Rainbow Rowell has put some genius into this. She has created, not only, a coming of age story but a whole fanfiction (which you can read—in its entirety—in Carry On) based on the Simon Snow series (which excerpts from the fictional series pop up in Fangirl). It is an inception of stories. It is brilliant, a wonderful reading journey to delve between layers and layers of writing.

The Queen of Contemporary 

  • Confession time: I have never read anything by Rainbow Rowell. Fangirl is the first book that I have read of hers. And, believe me, I will not be stopping there. Next up, I must get my hands on Eleanor and Park.
  • Fangirl is one of those books that are hard to describe. In the most basic sense, it is a coming of age story about a freshman in college. However, the synopsis didn’t draw me into the story. It was Rowell’s writing. From the very first page, I was hooked right into the realistic descriptions that are quirky and hilariously funny at just the right moments. It was as if she was speaking right to me. Not only that, but through Rowell’s writing, her characters come alive. They felt so real, as if we had just had a conversation of our own.
  • I must dub Rainbow Rowell the queen of contemporary if it hasn’t been done so already. She definitely deserves the title with her believable writing and how her work connects with all readers.

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Overall

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is a coming of age tale like no other. It delves deep into a freshman’s journey through the first year of college. Fangirl exemplifies a little bit of everyone. It is a tale that will be sure to brighten your day.


Top Ten Tuesday

10 Completed Book Series I've Started But Haven't Finished

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


With the release of Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han, I had to run out and go buy it as soon as possible. However, I haven’t read it yet. It is the series finale and I can’t wait to dive in. It seems that I always have difficulty finishing series because I just do not want them to end, I don’t want to say goodbye. I’ve noticed several series that I haven’t finished, that I’ve just left to gather dust on my bookshelves to avoid the inevitable last book. I should probably think about finishing these soon:

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


What completed series do you still have to finish?

book review

Finally I've Read It! | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: 5/5/15
Pages: 421
Source: purchased
Add it to Goodreads

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.


In this magical Beauty and the Beast retelling, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Feyre vowed to always take care of her family. Naturally, when poverty strikes, she must hunt in the woods or starve to death. Feyre has gotten quite good at a bow and arrow and when an unusually large wolf crosses her path, she buries her arrow in its flesh. However, the wolf is no ordinary wolf but a fairy. According to Tamlin, a High Fae, there are consequences to killing fairies. Feyre must leave her family and live with Tamlin until the end of her days in order to fulfill her debt.

Beauty and the Beast Retelling

  • There’s an extreme hype surrounding this book and I know not to fall under the hyped spell unless it is deserved. But, guys, the hype is well deserved. It is hard not to be entirely enchanted from the very beginning as a Beauty and the Beast retelling sounds absolutely fantastic to me any day. 
  • I adore fairies. In Cruel Beauty, a magnificent retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Hodge gave us a demon for the beast. In A Court of Thorns and Roses, Maas lets our eyes feast on her descriptive fairies. I haven’t read such a gorgeous fairy book in a long time, last being Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, so I am quite overdue. A Court of Thorns and Roses has lots of things going for it: quenching your thirst for both retellings and fairies at the same time.
  • There wasn’t too much information dumping in the world building that I found myself curious in the history rather than being annoyed.

Tamlin and Feyre Sitting in a Tree (And Rhysand's There Too!)

  • I was hoping Feyre would be more similar to Belle—in her love for books and adventure, rather we get a character who is rough and strong—a hunter who seems less relatable than Katniss. Despite her un-relatability, you root for her all the same. Feyre is courageous, strong, exceptional with a bow and arrow, a master finder, a painter, and sometimes a bit stupid. These traits and many more make her—not so much relatable, but—incredibly friend-worthy. If she wasn’t fictional, Feyre and I would definitely be besties.
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  • The plot itself was intriguing. The deeper I got into the story, the more I found myself liking Tamlin. Tamlin is my kind of guy: quiet, strong, intelligent, gentle. The list goes on. 
  • One thing I always look for in Beauty and the Beast retellings is the friendship blossoming into romance. I’m always curious as to how authors will choose to execute the transition from captor to romance. I must say that I didn’t see the romance coming in A Court of Thorns and Roses like it did. From Feyre’s narration, we know that Tamlin and she were spending a little more time with each other than before. However, we get mere mentions of these meetings than concrete scenes of their dialogue. It is not until quite farther into the story do we truly see how they may have feelings for each other. In doing it this way, Maas put the romance on the back burner (for at least the beginning 60% of the book), which is sad considering Beauty and the Beast is essentially a love story. The romance wasn’t as romantic as I was hoping and in some ways, a bit unbalanced. As much as Tamlin’s kind gestures and actions spoke volumes, I didn’t really expect Feyre and Tamlin to get together at all.
  • With how much the fans discuss Rhysand, I was expecting him to be a main character. However, he seems more of the Magnus Bane of the series. He is precious but didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. However, the more I see of him as the series goes on, I think I will begin to like him even more.

The End to a Fantastic Start

  • Maas weaves her plot and characters into a gorgeous tapestry of layers. Her writing is truly incredible. A Court of Thorns and Roses is actually the first novel by her that I’ve read. I loved it immensely and will definitely be continuing on with this series and reading her other books as well (Throne of Glass series, here I come!).
  • The ending and climax had me in tangles. My stomach still hurts from the action thrown my way. It was perfectly executed. I was contemplating giving the book a 4 star rating, however, my feelings of the ending slid my rating up to where it deserves to be. This is an incredible start to a series that is guaranteed to put you in knots and leave you tangled (you know, in a good way).

Overall

Having never before read a book written by Sarah J. Maas, I can say that I was wholly impressed with her writing and look forward to reading more by her in the future (starting with A Court of Thorns and Roses’ sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury). A Court of Thorns and Roses surpassed all of my expectations; the hype is incredibly well-deserved. The story is magnificent and will keep you guessing until the very end.





A Court of Thorns and Roses (5/5/15): 5 stars